Puzzles in the Dark
When designing Tokyo Dark we took a step back and looked at puzzles. We asked ourselves some questions: Why do adventure games have puzzles? What are the problems with puzzles? How can we do puzzles differently?
The best analogy for a puzzle is a locked door. It stops your progress, insists on your attention and requires you to take action. Puzzles are great when they are the perfect difficulty for you, after a few minutes of thinking you find the hidden key, unlock the door and continue with a nice blast of dopamine to the brain making you feel great. But when a puzzle is too abstract, or requires skills you find challenging, you are stuck, staring at a locked door. The sense of immersion is broken as you randomly experiment to move the story forward.
InTokyo Dark we want to avoid this. Our focus is on telling a great story with interesting choices, we don't want anyone to get stuck and frustrated.
We came to the conclusion that to us the most interesting thing about a puzzle is not if it can be solved, but how it is solved and what that solution says about someone's personality.
Puzzles in Tokyo Dark all have a number of solutions. An early example is the very obvious locked door mentioned above. You can take your time to explore the environment and find a key, you can persuade someone to help you or you can simply smash the door in with a sledge hammer. Either way you'll be able to move on, but the method you used to solve the puzzle will change Detective Itō's stats and may have consequences later in the story.
To unlock the most challenging ending in Tokyo Dark will take a huge amount of dedication and puzzle solving but the ending you'll find won't necessarily be the "best". If you choose to smash your way through the game, not read any background text, take the shortest paths and just enjoy the scenery you won't be punished! It's ok! If you like difficult puzzles then you'll find lots in Tokyo Dark to solve, but if you just want to kick back and experience a great story with interesting characters then we promise we won't throw any unnecessary and frustrating locked doors in your way. They'll be wide open... inviting you in...whispering to you from the shadows...